This was by far the most shocking thing I learned after I became a Christian and it is the prime reason why Christianity has over 1000 denominations. As I would read my Bible and learn things I would become excited, like a kid in a candy store, but as I shared my new-found excitement with my fellow Christians I was soon introduced to the one word that would kill that excitement, “Interpretation”.

There are no rules to interpretation just a local consensus. You can, in fact, interpret any line of scripture to mean anything you want it to mean within the understanding of your local group or congregation. There are several patterns I’ve found over the years as to why it can’t be what it says in the Bible and why it must be what the interpreter states that it is. I have listed them below so you will recognize them.


First, “Interpretation Via Language“, the way this one works is simple, what you read in the Bible is not what it means because you don’t know the original Greek or Hebrew meaning of the words, so you can’t possibly understand what you are reading. The part I find most fascinating about this type of interpretation is that I have never actually met anyone who speaks Greek or Hebrew, but they do claim to know certain words. If you press them on how they know these words then you will find a shocking and nonsensical fact, they read the words in a 3rd party study book. A book outside of the Bible used to change the meaning of what you just read in the Bible. O.o

Where this gets complicated: This changes from church to church depending on what 3rd party books people are reading (there are many). So, you can be confused multiple times and come out with multiple meanings to a single verse.


Next is, “Interpretation Via Training“, the way this one works is also simple, what you read in the Bible is not what it means because you haven’t had enough Bible training with Bible scholars. You haven’t read the entire Bible enough times to have a full grasp of what something means. You also don’t have enough understanding of history, so how could you possibly know what things in the Bible mean without a historical reference.

Where this gets complicated: This also changes from church to church depending on what history is known and accepted by the congregation. So, you can be confused multiple times and come out with multiple meanings to a single verse. I tested this several times with the issue of slavery in the Bible and got some fascinating responses from different congregations. Some believe slavery was supported by God due to historical references. Others believed it was not supported by God due to (again) historical references. There are some who think it never happened and that it was just a story to teach us a lesson because of the absence of historical references.


There is also, “Interpretation Via Common Sense“, the way this one works is frustrating and lazy, what you read in the Bible is not what it means because you are not using common sense. This one I run into mostly with fellow Christians during Bible conversations. You find yourself talking scripture and you read some out loud, as written, only to hear in response that it can’t literally mean that. When you press the person as to why they just respond with statements like, “That would be silly,” or “I don’t feel it would mean that”.

Where this gets complicated: This changes radically from person to person. Using feelings to know what something means in the Bible leads to a plethora of meanings to a single verse. People feel that verses have a certain meaning despite what is literally written in the Bible. They feel it in their bones.


Last is, “Interpretation Via Divine Inspiration“, the way this one works is complicated, what you read in the Bible is not what it means because person “X” talked directly to God and got a new meaning. I have seen this one many times in many churches. The preacher or priest claims to have received a message from God and that message has provided a new understanding of scripture.

Where this gets complicated: This changes from church to church depending on what the divine message was. So, you can be confused multiple times and come out with multiple meanings to a single verse. Sometimes it reverses what is written in the Bible, other times it adds a new modern clause to what is written, and sometimes it adds something completely new that you can’t find anywhere in the Bible.


My response to this challenge: I have decided to trust the manuscripts. I don’t think God made any mistakes, nor do I believe he lost the ability to protect the scriptures. So, I read the Bible as a literal text without changing the meaning of any of the words through interpretation. I also don’t add or remove words via interpretation. I leave the Bible as is.

2 Peter 1:20 — 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Proverbs 3:5-6 — 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Romans 3:4 — 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

1 Corinthians 14:33 — 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

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Join the conversation! 41 Comments

  1. I agree – the Bible should be read literally. Some peoples reasoning for their beliefs has me gobsmacked. But it IS important to know original Hebrew meanings of the words so we know for a fact what it is saying. jmshistorycorner is doing a translation of Genesis. I can’t remember everything about what he does, but I think you should read it:
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-1/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-2/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-3/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-4/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-5/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/07/21/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-6/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-7/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-8/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-9/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/08/18/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-10/
    http://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/restored-english-translation-of-genesis-chapter-11/
    (That’s all he’s done so far).

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  2. […] 10 Things I Learned When I Became A Christian: (2) Interpretation Allows Anything To Mean Anything […]

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  3. […] 10 Things I Learned When I Became A Christian: (2) Interpretation Allows Anything To Mean Anything […]

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  4. […] 10 Things I Learned When I Became A Christian: (2) Interpretation Allows Anything To Mean Anything […]

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  5. […] 10 Things I Learned When I Became A Christian: (2) Interpretation Allows Anything To Mean Anything […]

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  6. I like your writing, it is thoughtful and clearly written. In my response to your presentation of slavery verses I wrote from the perspective that I was writing to someone who was not yet a Christian. I am new to your blog. You commented on my blog about a year ago and this Labor Day weekend I finally have time to think and write. I saw your comment and decided to look you up. The Holy Spirit teaches us individually. (And you shall call no man Father). And the Holy Spirit will not contradict the clear teaching of the Bible. The Holy Spirit uses the Bible, other “fruit bearing” friends and mentors, circumstances, etc. to lead me. The Holy Spirit is life and gives meaning to the words for me. Jesus did not leave me as an orphan. He is with me every moment. He cares about me and my understanding of Him more than I do. I ask Him how to interpret the Bible and He is my Source and Rock. I once demanded that God speak to me audibly. I heard his voice in my head like an angel and I was satisfied with that. The voice told me what to do and I did it. But when the voice started to tell me to listen to it over the Bible I knew enough of the Bible to know that this “angel” was a demon. I was mad, mad at God for allowing me to be fooled and to be made a fool of by satan. But I learned an important lesson. When I originally asked God to speak to me he gave me the thought that he would use thoughts to speak to me. I rejected that. I wanted something more dramatic (a symptom of my newness of my relationship with him). So, since I rejected God’s best, satan was more than willing to fill in the gap. (Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light). That was 30 years ago. I still don’t know the Bible as I would like. Sometimes I wish I could spend most of my time reading the Bible, looking up the Greek and Hebrew, talking to Christian friends who have proven to me they walk with Jesus. But in the end I depend on Jesus, His love and care for me and His commitment to lead me as I obey Him. He still talks to me in thoughts. When these thoughts contradict the clear teaching of Jesus I know they are not from Him. As I follow, obey, and get to know him as my friend things get clearer and clearer. I like your desire to know the truth about the Truth. (The Bereans were more noble and looked up in the Scripture to see if what Paul was saying was true). God the Father sent Jesus and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to find you and send you. They will not fail. You can trust them with your life. They have never failed me. Nor will they you.

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  7. After reading your interaction with a hardcore atheist I am overwhelmed (is that the right word?) or intimidated? by your openness to searching for truth and rigorousness in discerning truth. I’m afraid I don’t have the Bible knowledge I would like to have, but I do have 30 years of walking with, stumbling and getting up again with Jesus.

    I ran into a similar situation when I was telling someone close to me about Jesus. I begged God to let me share Him with them even though they are openly hostile toward Jesus. He let me and they listened to what I had to say but were not affected. The next time I was with them God told me not to talk to them about Him. I ignored His warnings and they “turned and attacked me” and it was humiliating and painful (not physically). I am still trying to learn what Jesus said about “casting my pearls to swine and giving what is holy to dogs. This person is not a swine and not a dog. They are a beautiful person made in the image of God and I love them. Jesus thinks so too. The “swine and dog” is not to imply a lack of worth but to convey someone not yet ready to hear the Truth.

    The atheist also made the statement about God damning him to hell for not believing the “right” things. I wonder if he has every had a close, intimate relationship with his heavenly Father? I used to believe in an angry, nitpicking God that matched my memories of my earthly father. But after years of getting to know Him, through reading the Bible and most importantly putting it into practice, I am leaning of a gentle Father who wants to LOVE US and that happens best when we obey Him.

    Thank you for letting me read your writings, I have prayed and will pray for me and you to find Truth!

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    • You Stated — “The atheist also made the statement about God damning him to hell for not believing the “right” things. ”

      My Response — I have also heard this from atheist and find it to be very interesting since no one living knows what the judgement is until they get there. It’s a lie for them to state that they know for a fact what God is going to do in the future since they can’t read the mind of God.

      Jonah 3:9-10
      9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

      10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

      Isaiah 55:8-9
      8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the Lord.
      9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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  8. You Stated — “I really like Isaiah 55:8-9.”

    My Response — I do also, it clearly states that a person’s thoughts and ways are not Gods thoughts and ways. This makes a liar out of anyone who claims to know what God wants or how God operates.

    Isaiah 55:8-9 — 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    You Asked — “What do you think of this: “Paul wrote that God has told everyone what He is like through what He has created. The problem is not that God has not left his fingerprints.”

    This is the Verse:
    Psalm 19:1-6 — 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
    3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

    My Answer — It is true but what people miss is that we see less than 1% of creation. So we have a (less than) 1% understanding of the creator at best. Also, keep in mind that people only focus on a small fraction of what is actually observable.

    Job 26:14 — 14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

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    • That is a great quote of Job. I don’t remember reading that before. I really enjoyed my science classes because through biology, physics, etc. I learned about God; and this was before I was a Christian. I am shocked we see only 1% but I believe you. It will take an eternity to learn from an infinite God.

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  9. You Stated — “It will take an eternity to learn from an infinite God.”

    My Response — Trying to understand God is like trying to understand tomorrow. A place that is always ahead of you, knows everything about you since you are the past, knows what you will do next since it is the future, a place that is never where you are but you are always in it.

    Were you designed to understand God? Do you have the mental capacity to comprehend God? Do you have the knowledge to decipher God? Do you have the grey matter to store all there is to know of God?

    You are not equipped to understand God but you are well equipped to be in awe of him. I can understand seeking God, obeying God and loving God but understanding God?

    Psalm 145:3
    3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

    un·search·a·ble
    adjective
    unable to be clearly understood; inscrutable.

    I was talking to someone about God once (intense conversation) and the phone rang. We both stopped talking and the room went silent. He then said to me, “how do you know that’s not God calling”.

    My answer was simple, “If that were God calling, every phone on Earth would have rung and every single living being would turn in my direction point toward me and say to answer it for God calls.

    We are far from understanding him and his power. We think far too small.

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    • Amen! (Which I believe means not “So let it be” but rather “Truly” as Jesus used it. (I guess it might mean “So let it be” originally as well, I don’t have enough grey matter at this point to know :>) I like how you think through the Scriptures. How long have you been studying the Bible?

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      • You Asked — “How long have you been studying the Bible?”

        My Answer — That’s a good question. I’ve been reading the bible for years (maybe since childhood) but I didn’t actually start seeing it for what is was until the last few years due to a tiny change.

        It also created a divide between me and other Christians and a divide between me and atheist.

        All this after a simple thought. Such a small thing but such a big effect.

        How about you?

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        • I will respond tomorrow, thank you for asking!

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        • I read the Bible before I knew Jesus but didn’t understand it. I came to know Jesus over a period of about 10 years. Once I surrendered myself to him the Holy Spirit made his home within me and gave some understanding of the Bible. I say some because of course I don’t understand it all, but Jesus gives me what I need as I am ready to accept it. And when I obey him is when I’m ready to accept it. I perceive that Jesus won’t give me any more understanding until I have put into practice the understanding he has already given me. He is a “lamp unto my feet” or a flashlight for my next step.

          You have me curious. What is the simple thought that people reject you over? Jesus wouldn’t reject you. Jesus wants us to think. Yet, I test my thoughts against the Bible. It is my True Standard, or plumb line, or point of known reality.

          As you can imagine, having been mentally ill for 40 years, I do not trust my own thoughts completely. I compare them to the Bible and have my wife and godly friends help me to know if the thoughts are coming from God or me. In the end I am responsible for my actions, beliefs and thoughts, but godly counsel was even sought by the wisest man who ever lived. And that would be King Solomon. I believe he wrote: a wise man has many counselors. That would include him, too.

          Have a great day, and keep trusting Jesus!

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          • You Asked — “You have me curious. What is the simple thought that people reject you over?”

            My Answer — I thought: “What if the bible is true?” What if everything in it is the truth?

            That’s such a dangerous thought that it could cost you half your friends and family.

            What you don’t know is that most people don’t believe the bible and once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

            You wouldn’t know unless it was tested and no one ever really tests it. They just go day to day believing what they want but I decided to not trust my own thoughts or anyone else’s. I decided to only trust what was written.

            This is what happens if you believe what is written (see verse below) and I don’t mean it in some preachy prophetic way. I mean I started taking the bible literally and people started yelling at me in my family. Friends started arguing with me like crazy. The verse is real. These were Christians getting mad at me just for saying bible verses out loud without using PROPER interpretation.

            Matthew 10:34-36
            34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

            35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

            36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

            I decided to just leave the bible the way it is and not change any words, zero interpretation. I simply decided to believe it as it is written.

            Once you do that prepare yourself for the backlash but on the positive side, it’s like having your eyes opened and everything in the Bible makes way more sense.

            Here’s a good example: https://realitydecoded.blog/2019/08/25/remember-how-tithing-is-for-drinking-alcohol-eating-rejoicing-and-taking-care-of-foreigners/

            People in the church keep telling me why not to do what is actually written in those verses and for the craziest reasons, why I must do what they are asking (but it’s not in the bible).

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            • Have you ever read in Malachi I think it is? what is a “fast” but to loose the chains of injustice? etc. I really like that verse.

              It is easy to say “I believe the Bible cover to cover” if in fact you don’t read it. There is some hard stuff in there. What do you think of Jesus’ hyperbole such as “if your right eye causes you to lust, pluck it out, it is better to enter life blind than to have your whole body thrown into hell.”

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              • You Asked — “Have you ever read in Malachi”

                My Response — I may have read it long ago but it’s not something I currently have notes on in my new studies.

                You Asked — “What do you think of Jesus’ hyperbole such as “if your right eye causes you to lust, pluck it out”

                hy·per·bo·le:
                exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

                Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life”

                My Response — So where does it say in the book of Matthew not to take Jesus (The Truth) literally?

                Or try this… are the verses just before and after 29 also hyperbole? And if not then “Why Not”? If so then what process do you use to determine what is true and what is hyperbole?

                This is also the book where he died to pay the price for sin… a price, before his death, that would have been better to pluck out your eye rather than pay it yourself.

                Was not the sacrifice of his life the only answer to avoid a fearsome judgement such as hell?

                If one would not believe pulling an eye out then why believe hours of torture and then death on the cross? It far exceeds an eye as an extreme (Is it also hyperbole?)

                Does an extreme response in the Bible mean that it’s hyperbole ?

                Keep in mind that he was talking about the reality of their situation with sin and hell as judgement before the ransom was paid by him.

                Think about the last verse in that chapter:

                48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

                Is that statement hyperbole?
                Can you be perfect?
                But should you be perfect?
                Do you think he paid the price because we were failing to be perfect?
                Are we now perfect through him?

                Something to think about

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              • Great way to interpret it, but you can also interpret it to mean that you can’t stop yourself from sinning so therefore sin as you will (People do in fact also use that interpretation).

                The challenge with interpretation is that once allowed your view is true and someone else’s view is also true. If you can interpret then they can interpret. If you are right then they are right. Because you don’t have authority greater than other people. (Ergo now thousands of church denominations)

                If it is left “AS IS” then only the word is right.
                (Thus one church)

                Romans 3:4 — 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

                So is the verse true as stated, that it would be better to pluck out your own eye than sin in a time (BEFORE JESUS) had paid the price for you or are you right in saying that Jesus was exaggerating and he should not be taken literally?

                You Stated — “What do you think of Jesus’ hyperbole such as “if your right eye causes you to lust, pluck it out…”

                hy·per·bo·le:
                exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

                If you are right then we as Christians are confused since we can’t determine who’s interpretation is correct. This verse can be “INTERPRETED” many different ways (Very Confusing).

                1 Corinthians 14:33 — 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

                Not to mention that you then become a mediator between men and God to understand the written word through your interpretation.

                1 Timothy 2:5 — 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

                If you are walking a path and want to find the correct way home should you interpret the signs at the crossroads or take them literally.

                If the road splits 8 ways (8 different interpretations) then which path is correct? The person who made the sign seems to me to be more trustworthy than those who think to know better in their understanding of what they think it means.

                Keep in mind what he told us:

                Proverbs 3:5-6 — 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

                2 Peter 1:20 — 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

                Are we all right in our interpretations or is God right in his written word?

                People are changing verses to make them make sense to themselves. To fully trust the bible one must take a leap of faith acknowledging that they don’t understand something but with “TRUST” it regardless:

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                • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in interpreting Scripture?

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                  • You Asked — “What is the role of the Holy Spirit in interpreting Scripture?”

                    Answer —

                    John 14:26
                    26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

                    What was said? —

                    2 Peter 1:20
                    20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

                    pri·vate
                    adjective
                    1.belonging to or for the use of one particular person or group of people only.

                    But People Don’t Believe What Was Said —

                    1 Corinthians 2:14
                    14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

                    So People Change It To Something Believable —

                    in·ter·pre·ta·tion
                    noun
                    the act of explaining, reframing, or otherwise showing your own understanding of something.

                    But What Does The Bible Say About Understanding? —

                    Proverbs 3:5
                    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
                    and lean not on your own understanding;

                    Either everyone is right or everyone is wrong.

                    Romans 3:4
                    4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

                    Think about it this way:

                    Without interpretation there would be Zero denominations.
                    There would be one church

                    A person may not understand or believe what’s in a verse but the verse doesn’t need to change THEY DO

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                    • The Holy Spirit is responsible for teaching you, and me. And scripture has no private interpretation. The Holy Spirit will not contradict the Bible or Himself. If two interpretations conflict, one or both are wrong. And remember, deciding to interpret the Bible literally is an interpretive choice.

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                    • You Stated — “And remember, deciding to interpret the Bible literally is an interpretive choice.”

                      My Response — Incorrect. A negative cannot make a positive. Absence of interpretation does not make for interpretation.

                      Like

                    • I have found that the Bible is interested far more in me changing than in me demanding that others change. The Bible is a mirror, I see what I am really like. I don’t sleep with other people’s wives so I am righteous right? Jesus exposes the true nature of the Law and says I am a law breaker if I even look at a woman with lust. Now I see who I really am. I’m guilty, and I need a Savior. Read the Bible to see how Jesus is talking to you about you, about hard things you may not want to face. That is the hardest and most beneficial use of the Bible for me. And God convicts, pardons and heals me when I agree with what he says about me.

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                    • You Stated — “Read the Bible to see how Jesus is talking to you about you, about hard things you may not want to face. ”

                      My Response — Sounds like good advice. Here is a great verse from God to provide just what you are talking about.

                      2 Peter 1:20
                      20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

                      The more you read it the more it plants.

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                    • Does the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth and is that truth of no private interpretation? Jesus is the Prince of Peace and yet he said, I have not come to bring peace but a sword, 2 against 3 and 3 against two, a man’s enemies will be of his own household. Jesus wasn’t talking about a literal sword he was talking about how members of the same family will decide differently about Jesus which will divide them. This has happened in my family. You have decided you will interpret the Bible literally. That is your interpretation choice. I would like to challenge you to ask God to give you verses that say the Bible is to be entirely interpreted literally.

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                    • You Asked — “Does the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth and is that truth of no private interpretation?”

                      My Response — 2 Peter 1:20
                      20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

                      Like

                    • I apologize but I can’t listen to all of the above lecture because of time. Jesus probably taught the “Sermon on the Mount” in many places, including valleys, as he taught from town to town. The Sermon on the Mount may be a compilation of what Jesus said and what the Holy Spirit felt would be the best to convey the message He wanted to send. Remember that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to teach you all truth, it is our job to trust what He says and not lean on our own understanding of what it says. How do you know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you? What does He use to communicate to you? When I was first saved I demanded the Holy Spirit talk to me audibly. He said he wanted to talk to me in thoughts. I rejected that as too easy. Jesus let satan talk to me audibly in my mind masquerading as Jesus. When satan contradicted scripture I knew I had been fooled. I accepted Jesus talking to me in thoughts then and it has worked out wonderfully. What fruit of the Spirit is Jesus growing in you? How have you changed since knowing Jesus intimately?

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                    • You Stated — “I apologize but I can’t listen to all of the above lecture because of time. ”

                      My Response — NP, the world is a busy place and some find things that are more important to them. Let me know if you want to return to this thread in the future and I will join you then.

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                • People are changing verses to make them make sense to themselves. To fully trust the bible one must take a leap of faith acknowledging that they don’t understand something but with “TRUST” it regardless:

                  Is this your interpretation? Have you asked the Holy Spirit to teach you the Scripture? What has he said to you? Have you put it into practice? What did you learn?

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                  • You Asked — Is this your interpretation?

                    Because I stated — “People are changing verses to make them make sense to themselves.”

                    My Answer — No, since I stated that I don’t use any interpretation and the statement wasn’t about the Bible it was about people.

                    You Asked — Have you asked the Holy Spirit to teach you the Scripture?

                    My Answer — I say to you, Jesus is Lord.

                    1 Corinthians 12:3
                    3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

                    You Asked — “What has he said to you?”

                    My Answer — If you have the same friend that I have then you will easily get this answer from my friend.

                    You Asked — “Have you put it into practice?”

                    My Answer — God who judges can answer that better than I.

                    You Asked — “What did you learn?”

                    My Response — That which I was lacking and that which needed change.

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                    • I sense we are leaving a discussion and moving to debate. I don’t want to debate Jesus’ words. You have a unique point-of-view, or non-interpretation of the Bible. You have given me a new perspective to think about. Thank you. I hope we can discuss more in the future.

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                    • You Stated — “I sense we are leaving a discussion and moving to debate. I don’t want to debate Jesus’ words.”

                      My Response — Debates are interesting and discussions are fun but we have done neither.

                      Proverbs 27:17

                      17 As iron sharpens iron,
                      so one person sharpens another.

                      We can talk again any time you want but keep in mind that all I’m doing is copying verses. I didn’t write it so I don’t have any personal perspective on it. Belief is a choice, not an opinion.

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  10. Excellent questions and reasoning. Plucking my eye out would not stop me from lusting after a woman. It would not pay the price of sin as God said death is the penalty for sin. So, to me, those are not the reason he said that. I read the Sermon on the Mount as showing people who think they are righteous in themselves because they think they are obeying the Law that the true nature of the Law is impossible for us to obey in ourselves. Paul said in Romans I believe that the Law convicts everyone as a lawbreaker and leads us to know we need someone to save us (Jesus).

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    • Another thing to consider is written context. It can give meaning to a quote that if not there the quote can mean whatever you want it to mean. Other context can be who the writer is, who the intended audience is, the location and “times” it was written in, if idioms were used (not to be taken literally) and sarcasm. Paul wrote he wanted the “circumcision group” to go all the way and emasculate themselves. A Jesus follower would not tell someone to literally hurt themselves. But they may express their frustration with a group by saying that.

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      • You Stated — “A Jesus follower would not tell someone to literally hurt themselves. ”

        My Response — Where does it say that in the Bible? Share the verse with me.

        Until then:

        Matthew 26:51-52
        51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

        2 Kings 2:23-24
        23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

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  11. You Asked — “I would like to challenge you to ask God to give you verses that say the Bible is to be entirely interpreted literally.”

    2 Peter 1:20 King James Version (KJV)
    20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

    2 Timothy 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    Deuteronomy 8:3 King James Version (KJV)
    3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

    2 Timothy 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

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10 Things Christian, Religion Gone Wild

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